With CO Sen. Salazar being nominated for Sec. of the Interior by President-elect Obama, everybody in Colorado is talking about who Gov. Bill Ritter will nominate to replace him. Public Policy Polling (PPP) just released results of a survery asking who people support for the Senate seat (pdf). While they did, they also asked about Gov. Bill Ritter’s job performance. (712 voters were surveyed; MoE +/-3.7%) [h/t Colorado Independent]
[side rant]:While Coloradans would like to think they have a say about who the Senate replacement would be, in some ways the Democratic Party is just as top-down as the Republican Party. Unfortunately, the actual people have very little say in who will be our next Senator. Looking around the country, I’m starting to think executive appointment of Senators is a bad idea. Replacement House members have to have special elections. Senators, seeing as how they are in for six solid years, should have to go through the same process. The current process is un-(d)emocratic.
But I wanted to focus on Gov. Ritter’s job performance numbers, since those will have an effect on how the 2010 Governor race pans out. Overall, Ritter gets a 49-36-15 approval rating. Is he really below the 50% “worry threshold”? Let’s get closer to the election before thinking too hard about that. Here are the cross-tab data:
52% approval – 27% disapproval by women (21% unsure)
46% approval – 45% disapproval by men (9% unsure)
75%-13% by Democrats (11% unsure)
21%-61% by Republicans (18% unsure)
50%-34% by Other (16% unsure)
49%-37% by Whites (14% unsure)
35%-38% by African Americans (27% unsure)
54%-30% by Hispanics (16% unsure)
39%-46% by Other (16% unsure)
56%-34% by 18-29 year olds (10% unsure)
49%-35% by 30-45 year olds (16% unsure)
51%-36% by 46-65 year olds (13% unsure)
45%-37% by >65 year olds (18% unsure)
51%-35% in the Denver region (14% unsure)
46%-38% in the rest of the state (16% unsure)
Republicans would overwhelmingly disapprove of any Democrat in office. I would enjoy hearing what they disapprove of so much. Jobs are being created, education is being funded, roads are generally being maintained, and CO is well on its way toward building a strong New Energy Economy. Given the ridiculous budget constraints Colorado’s Governor and legislators are forced to work under, things are going pretty darn well. The same couldn’t be said for former Gov. Owens: schools at all levels were about to close, new roads were being built (at taxpayer expense, I might add) while old roads and bridges fell apart, and he had no plan for a different energy policy.
It’s a bad thing for Ritter that more African Americans disapprove of his job performance. My gut feeling is national policies are doing more to block their path toward opportunity, but most people focus on their immediate community. Perhaps a concerted focus on CO’s African American community would be in order. Find out why they’re displeased and do what needs to be done to change that.
Ritter does well with all age groups. The 18-29yo demographic is good news as long as he can get them to the polls like Obama did. Of course, they might do a better job of getting themselves to the polls than most people give them credit for. In fact, the 2010 18-29yo turnout will be a good way to measure how organized they’re getting. I know the Party still isn’t doing a good job of mobilizing them.
I think Ritter should do a better job of marketing the New Energy Economy’s effect on rural Colorado. Are communities doing better with renewable energy infrastructure than they were before? If so, they can look to Ritter’s leadership in popularizing those cases. Did rural communities receive support from the urban corridor after natural disasters the past few years? Yes: millions of dollars’ worth. Without Ritter and others pushing for that support, they wouldn’t have received that support. My point here is rural communities receive far more money from the state government than they pay into it. Unfortunately, they’ve heard for a generation how they should keep all their tax dollars since they’re wasted anyway. Rural communities would fall apart without tax dollars. We as a state invest in each other. Ritter can do a better job spreading that message.
Overall, I don’t envision Ritter having too much trouble winning reelection. A lot depends, of course, on what happens the next two years with the economy. If we’re in a severe recession throughout all of 2009, that will give the anti-government Cons a message toward electoral success. The big question is: How long will Coloradans give Democrats to change things? If Ritter isn’t involved in a perceived political disaster, he’ll do fine.
Cross-posted at SquareState.